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Administration vows to get tough with China
Question of the Day
“We are concerned, as are many of China‘s trading partners, that the pace of appreciation has been too slow and the extent of appreciation too limited,” he says.
The Obama administration, like the previous Bush administration, has preferred to pursue a course of quiet diplomacy with China, believing that would produce greater results that direct confrontation with the Chinese on the currency issue.
However, Mr. Geithner’s remarks indicate that policy may be changing. He says the administration would take China‘s action into account when it releases its next report on the Chinese currency, which is due Oct. 15.
Up until now, the administration has declined to label China a currency manipulator, a designation that would trigger talks between the two nations and could lead to trade sanctions if the United States won a case against China‘s currency policies before the World Trade Organization.
“We will take China‘s actions into account as we prepare the next Foreign Exchange Report, and we are examining the important questions of what mix of tools … might help the Chinese authorities to move more quickly,” Geithner says.
Starting late last week, China‘s central bank has allowed the currency, the yuan, to rise more in value against the dollar. The yuan’s trading range is controlled by the Chinese government. But even with the gains in recent days, the yuan has strengthened by only a little more than 1 percent against the dollar since June 19. It was on that date that the central bank said it would drop a tight peg it had maintained between the yuan and the dollar for the past 23 months.
The June announcement came right before China was to attend a summit of the Group of 20 major industrial and developing countries in Toronto. The United States earlier indicated it would make China‘s currency system a key topic at that meeting unless the Chinese showed greater flexibility.
AP reporter Cara Anna in Beijing contributed to this report.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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